Three people were rescued from the Atlantic by a passing cargo ship Monday morning after their small plane crashed into open waters en route to Miami from the Bahamas, authorities said.
The twin-engine Cessna 337 was headed to Opa-locka Executive Airport from Great Harbour Cay Airport when it went down roughly 27 miles east of Bimini around 8:15 a.m., according to the FAA. All three people aboard survived and were rescued.
Pilot Ernie Martin said that after the plane lost fuel in one engine and then the other, he tried to land the plane as close as possible to the ship he spotted nearby.
Martin said he opened the door before hitting the water to expedite the escape from the plane. The men had some scrapes and bruises but suffered no serious injuries. They are now headed home to be with their families.
“The impact was hard — not unexpected, but hard,” Martin said. “Then you’re trying to go out the door with water rushing into the cabin.”
“I was in the backseat and it was, uh, shocking,” said passenger Daniel Puig. “It was very unexpected, and seatbelts worked. Seatbelts save lives. If not, I would’ve been flying through the window.”